Wage and Hour

Scam Alert: The One-Day Hire That Turns Into 30

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Did you ever think you might, one day, feel bad for Uber?

In reviewing new case filings, we noticed a series of lawsuits brought by the same plaintiff alleging she, a model, was hired for a one-day photo shoot and not timely paid, triggering penalties under the Labor Code.

Just in the last month (Jan. ’18), plaintiff Molly Kucera has sued Ross, Uber and Cuyana making this claim. The allegations are largely the same in each case. The model was “employed” for a day at a rate of $600 (the amount changes). Under the Labor Code, employees are to get paid upon discharge and plaintiff wasn’t, triggering a penalty of thirty times. $600 becomes $18,000, by example.

Conspicuously left out of the complaint (against Ross, at least) was the understanding of the parties going into the gig, as to whether the model was ok being treated as an employee vs. an independent contractor. There are allegations that Ross controlled her work. Control is the leading, albeit not the only, factor in the test to determine if someone is an employee or contractor. But, there still may be a fraud going on. In all likelihood, the defendants believed they were hiring a contractor and were duped.

The attorney making these claims for Kucera is Roger Muse, a Beverly Hills lawyer who filed many similar suits in Kucera’s and other’s names last year. It’s arguably a racket. The models get hired. He sues. In most cases, defendants likely settle because the cost of defense is higher than the ask. The Labor Code provides for the recovery of attorney’s fees though, so Muse might figure if they fight, that is fine too. A smart defense move might be to counter sue for fraud, adding Muse as a conspirator. The cross-complaint would have to be appropriately worded to avoid an Anti-SLAPP motion.

A sarcastic thank you to Muse for this double-whammy, making lawyers and models look bad in one fell swoop.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are  based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm,Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.